Members of the Godmanchester Volunteer Fire Department have added their names to a very short list of those trained and equipped to carry out grain-entrapment rescues within the province.
A total of 18 firefighters, including four from the Hinchinbrooke Volunteer Fire Brigade, took part in the in-person training offered by the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) on October 15. Like the training received by members of a fire department in Pincourt and the Hemmingford Fire Service earlier this summer, the workshop featured an online theoretical component followed by practical training using a specialized trailer equipped with a replica grain bin filled with corn.
The members of the Godmanchester and Hinchinbrooke departments were able to practice using the new GSI Res-Q-Tube grain entrapment rescue cofferdam and portable auger during the workshop, where members served as both rescuers and victims. Chief Andrew MacDonald says he felt it was important that the Godmanchester Fire Department take part in the training while the trailer was still in the province.
“There are more and more grain bins and storage in the area,” he says, noting it was important to the team as well, as so many volunteer members live and work on farms. MacDonald suggests that with the speed at which todays’ augers move grain, an individual can become trapped in a bin in a matter of seconds. Once the machine has been stopped, it can be extremely dangerous to attempt to remove this person without the appropriate equipment.
The training and equipment were purchased outright by the Godmanchester department at a cost of $1,800 for the training, and an additional $4,399 for the equipment. Now, says MacDonald, the equipment will be available through the Mutual Aid network “to anyone who calls for it.”